When you think of Flamenco (fla’menko) dancing, perhaps you picture ladies with swirly dresses and men with white shirts, black vests and patent black shoes. They twirl and spin to a robust Spanish guitar, breaking a sweat with their movements and using intricate, yet dramatic steps. Perhaps you don’t realize there is so much more to Flamenco.
Flamenco originated in Andalusia, Spain and has been influenced over the past two centuries by Roma (Gypsies), Muslim, Castilian and Jewish cultures. Originally, there was no music; only singing and the clapping of hands “toque de palmas”. You may find some areas where the traditional flamenco is still practiced but modern flamenco uses the guitar and other musical instruments to provide the backdrop to the dance. This form of musical Flamenco is the most popular.
Current popular Flamenco has three parts:
The Dance – “baile”
The Singing – “cante”
The Guitar – “toque”
All three components are meant to provoke a feeling, an emotion that sets the mood – romantic, dramatic, passionate or thoughtful. Flamenco Dancing is to be in a state of emotion and live in the moment: the dance expresses the deepest feelings of the dancers using facial expressions, Castanets (hand-held clappers) and body movements to convey their message. To watch is to be caught up in their story.
To dance Flamenco, you tell your own story.
If you’d like to see Flamenco dancing in action, you’re in luck! Café 21 likes to celebrate Flamenco every Thursday with live music and dancers that demonstrate the true passion of Flamenco. Come join us and enjoy an evening of vibrant Spanish culture and perhaps learn a bit about this centuries-old dance.